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Selling your car online – beware of the 419 scam!

Selling a car online? You may have had plenty of interest but perhaps not from genuine buyers. We reveal a scam that all sellers should be aware of.

Through our business we obviously meet lots of different people who want to sell their car, all of their agendas differ day by day, but what has become increasingly noticeable is that more and more people are coming to us after a bad experience trying to sell their car online or from the fear of being scammed.

Over the past 4 weeks we have had over 10 people explain to us their disturbing experience with trying to sell their car privately. They all explained a very similar story, describing a scam that is currently big business for fraudsters via auto trader website when advertising a car for sale. After doing some research we have found out it is called the 419 Nigerian scam.

How it works?paypalscam copy

The scam goes like this: a “buyer” contacts you via email expressing an interest in the vehicle you have for sale, usually the emails are full of spelling mistakes and poor grammar. This is to convince the victim that the fraudster is an uneducated person who wouldn’t have the ability to defraud them, they commonly say that he or she is out of the country.

They then go on to say they want to buy your car but can only arrange payment via PayPal. They will ask you for your PayPal details (or to set one up if you haven’t got one). Once you’ve done that, you will receive a notification on your email account that you have been paid for your car, infact you have been over paid.

 You will then be contacted by the fraudsters saying they have over paid to allow for shipping costs and that you need to send the “overpayment” to their shipping/handling agent – they will give you account details. This all seems ok, however the PayPal notification in your email inbox is a fake, and the money is not actually in your PayPal account. This results in you been left £100’s or £1000’s out of pocket if you pay the shipping costs.

 There are different variations of this scam, including fraudulent bankers drafts and spurious bank emails and this type of fraud is wide spread online and Auto Trader says it is aware of the problem.

 Helena Fearon, director of risk and compliance at Trader Media Group, which owns Auto Trader, said: “Cybercrime is highly organised crime and it’s growing year on year with fraudsters presenting increasingly sophisticated techniques to hijack customer account credentials.

Online scams are nothing new but asking for PayPal details seems to be the most common method to swipe cash from unsuspecting sellers.

How to avoid this scam, here are some top tips from Auto Trader:

  • • Always meet the buyer in person, do not accept someone else collecting the car
  • • Be extra vigilant to fraudulent emails, checking for indicators such as, poor spelling and grammar. Similarly, if the email gives too much information it may be a sign that the seller is trying to validate or authenticate themselves.
  • • Remember you are selling the car – you should be receiving money not sending it out, never agree to pay for shipping costs or handling fees, even if “overpayment” is offered.
  • • Never release the vehicle until you have confirmed with your bank that the funds are cleared in your account
  • • As with many things in life, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Selling a car can be a hassle even when it goes smoothly, with these scams that are now growing in the UK this is only making it harder to have a simple hassle free transaction to sell your car. If you want to know what we will pay your for your car via secure internet banking same day then simply fill out a form at sellyourcar2jack.com.

You can also view our testimonials here to see what people have said about using our service.

I hope you found this blog interesting and informative. As always I welcome comments below and encourage people to share this on their social networks to inform family and friends to beware of the 419 Nigerian scam!


Jack 🙂

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